How to Make Classic English Scones with Buttermilk and Clotted Cream

Traditional English scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream

Butter scones are a classic tea-time treat that are perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea or coffee. We often have these on Mother’s Day for a high tea with a filling of  extra clotted cream and strawberry jam or raspberry jam.  The big question then is whether you put the jam on top of the cream or the other way round. It’s a big bone of contention between Devon and Cornish folk as to which is correct. I always go with jam first but I know this is madness in some parts of the United Kingdom.

This recipe uses buttermilk and clotted cream to make them even more rich and delicious. Use Cornish clotted cream if you can get hold of it. In the USA it will be very similar to heavy cream but in the UK we go with Roddas every time. The buttermilk makes for a lighter, fluffier texture with lots of scrumptious flavour. Please serve warm with butter; it needs to melt a little into the crumb!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup of clotted cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Optional: jam and clotted cream, for serving

Preparation of Scones:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the cold butter to the bowl and use a pastry cutter or your hands to cut it into the flour mixture. You want to create small pea-sized pieces of butter throughout the flour mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, clotted cream, egg, and vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the bowl with the flour and butter mixture. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine the ingredients until a dough forms.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently for a minute or two, until it comes together in a smooth ball.
  7. Roll the dough out into a circle that’s about 1/2-inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter or a glass to cut the dough into circles that are about 2-3 inches in diameter.
  8. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a little space between each one. Brush the tops of the scones with a little extra buttermilk.
  9. Bake the scones for 12-15 minutes, or until they are lightly golden on top and firm to the touch.
  10. Serve the scones warm or at room temperature, with jam and extra clotted cream on the side.

Tips:

  • Make sure your butter and clotted cream are cold when you add them to the flour mixture. This will help create the flaky texture of the scones.
  • Don’t overwork the dough when you’re kneading it, or the scones may become tough.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for a few minutes to curdle.
  • You can also freeze the scones before baking. Simply cut them out, place them on a baking sheet, and freeze them until they’re solid. Then transfer them to a zip-top bag and store them in the freezer for up to a month. When you’re ready to bake them, just brush them with buttermilk and bake them straight from the freezer (adding a few extra minutes to the baking time).
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